While defensive ends Alec James (Brookfield), A.J. Natter (Milton) and Chikwe Obasih (Brookfield) are all competing for the top spot in the state of Wisconsin, Madison West lineman Aidan McNamara has a firm grip on being the best player in the city.
The 6-4, 270-pound lineman was the only junior lineman to receive first-team All-City honors in Madison and also earned a second-team All-Conference selection as an offensive lineman in the Big 8 Conference, one of the largest conferences in the state with 10 schools over 1,500 students.
It's one of the reasons McNamara was one of the many high school juniors invited to Wisconsin's campus earlier this month to get a feel for what his nearby college has to offer.
"I like Wisconsin a lot," McNamara told Badger Nation. "It was cool to get an inside look at how the college works with the football program. I talked to a player panel of offensive linemen, which was really cool for them to do that. It was a positive experience."
McNamara has been in contact with Wisconsin since last summer when him and his family sat down with former offensive line coach Bob Bostad following UW's home game against Indiana. Since the new coaching staff has come on board, McNamara has had to start building new relationship, but has gotten the same type of interest.
"It still positive, but it's a lot of getting to know them," said McNamara. "I just met Coach Markuson and Coach Canada, who is my recruiting contact, and they are both really nice guys to talk to. I think they both will fit in very well with the Badgers' scheme and the type of offense that they want to run. Coach Canada addressed the coaching losses really well and their direction going forward."
With a scholarship class hovering between 10-12 scholarships, McNamara knows that he has to attend Wisconsin's camp and outperform the others. "I know they like to wait and see people at camp before they give scholarships out," said McNamara. "I am looking forward to proving myself there. I think there could be an opportunity but with the limited scholarships, I know it's not likely for me to get a scholarship right away."
Following his visit to Wisconsin, McNamara went to Purdue's junior day and has plans to visit Minnesota for spring practices. He's also been invited to camp at Indiana and Northwestern and has gotten interest from a number of Ivy League schools.
The interest is there because McNamara is more than just a two-way lineman. As a sophomore, McNamara was the All-City wrestling champion at heavyweight and placed second in the conference with a 30-13 record and 21 pins. Last spring as a sophomore, he also earned honorable mention All-Conference and All-City as a baseball player.
"I might not be as tall as some other guys, but I think my athleticism is a big advantage to me," said McNamara said. "I get low, I hit hard and I move fast."